What Should You Look For in an Air Compressor Rental?
Air compressors are expensive pieces of equipment to buy outright. That’s the biggest reason why so many companies choose the more affordable option of renting an air compressor.
If your company is looking for an air compressor rental there are some important factors to consider. The main one of these is what type and size compressor will best suit your application.
This depends on how much power you need for your tools. By choosing the right air compressor you can minimize the cost to your business.
With so many different air compressors available, making the right choice isn’t easy. This guide will take you through the various types of air compressors so that you can choose the best one for your company.
Rotary Screw Compressors
These are large industrial air compressors and are usually powered by a diesel engine. They compress air by moving two interlocking screws in an air chamber. This efficient design means they are quieter and produce less vibration than piston compressors.
They produce a large volume of compressed air and are generally used in construction and industrial applications.
Common applications for rotary screw compressors include:
- Pneumatic grinders
- Pneumatic pumps
- Sandblasting machines
- Large refrigeration units
- Drill rigs
- Large paint systems
The advantage of this type of compressor is that they produce a continuous flow of compressed air. Due to this steady stream of air, there is no need for a storage tank.
Rotary screw compressors can operate continuously at their full rated capacity. Some models have electric governors that can adjust the engine RPM, depending on the demand.
These compressors are usually mounted on a trailer. This makes them easy to transport with a pick-up truck. Larger compressors are usually mounted on skids for easy loading onto a flatbed truck.
These smaller compressors are also known as reciprocating compressors. They compress air with pistons driven by a crankshaft. This allows them to produce compressed air at high pressure.
Piston compressors are powered by either a diesel or petrol engine. Smaller models use electrical power. These compressors collect the compressed air and store it in a tank.
They have a wide range of applications, such as:
- Nails guns
- Pneumatic workshop tools
- Paint guns
- Pressure washing
- Filling Scuba diving tanks
The size of the compressed air tank is an important consideration. Piston compressors should only be operated intermittently. You can only use a small air-cooled model for around 4 hours each day.
This means that piston compressors are best suited for applications that don’t require continuous operation. These small compressors are small enough to be easily transported. Some rental companies refer to them as portable compressors.
How Much Airflow Do You Need?
Every pneumatic tool requires a certain amount of airflow. If you use an air compressor that has insufficient airflow you reduce the power of the tool.
Airflow is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). It is important to choose an air compressor that can deliver enough airflow to power the tools you are using.
To find the CFM requirements of your tools you can check in the user manual or on the label of the tool. To calculate your total CFM requirement you need to know the CFM needed for each tool you plan to use.
If you will only be using one tool at a time then find the tool with the highest CFM requirement. Factor in a safety margin by multiplying this number by 1.5. This will give you the size of the air compressor necessary for your application.
If you plan on using more than one tool at a time then you need to add the CFM of all the tools together. Multiply this by 1.5 for your safety margin. This total will be the size of the air compressor you need.
Make sure you choose an air compressor that can provide you with enough airflow. A medium-sized piston compressor can provide between 30 to 45 CFM. Large rotary screw compressors can provide anything up to 16,000-18,000 CFM.
How Much Pressure Do You Need?
Air pressure is the other important aspect to consider when choosing the right sized air compressor for your application. This is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI).
To calculate your PSI requirements you don’t need to get a total from all your different tools. Simply make sure that the compressor can deliver enough pressure to power your highest-rated tool.
Most smaller air compressors are rated at 90 PSI. Larger models are usually rated at 150 PSI but can go higher than that.
Make sure you select the right pressure for your needs. Don’t choose a higher pressure air compressor as this can damage your tools.
What Size Tank Do You Need?
Air tanks store compressed air so that the engine doesn’t need to run continuously. Tank sizes range from 2 gallons to 80 gallons.
Small tanks are suitable for workshop tools that only use compressed air in short bursts. If you need a regular supply of compressed air then a large tank is the best option.
Air Compressor Rental Prices
The price of leasing an air compressor depends on the amount of power the compressor is rated for. As discussed earlier, this is the flow of air they can deliver and is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM).
Portable piston air compressors are generally rated from 5 to 20 CFM. The rental prices of these compressors range from $40 – $90 per day.
Monthly rentals range from $250 – $450 depending on the CFM rating.
Rotary screw trailer-mounted compressors can deliver 100 to 1,600 CFM. These much larger air compressors range from $75 – $950 per day.
For monthly rentals, you can expect to pay between $600 for a 100 CFM compressor and up to $6,000 for a 1,600 CFM compressor.
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